Taken from History of Herkimer County by George A. Hardin and Frank H. Willard, published in 1893.
VAGTS, Christ, is proprietor of the milk station at West Winfield. He buys milk from the farmers and ships to the New York city market, the product being from about 3,000 cows. He ships about 130 cans a day, each can containing forty quarts. It is taken in and cooled by water from a flowing well. The cans returned from New York are first cleaned by washing and then steamed. He commenced this business in January, 1889. About 1,200 cans required to run the business, and all the surplus milk is made up into butter and cheese, the farmers being paid as if it were all shipped to New York. The building is 156 feet long, 30 feet wide and two stories high.
VAN ALLEN, Edward G., Little Falls, was born in Little Falls June 24, 1853. He received a good common school education, after which for years he was engaged on a farm. During the next three years he was brakeman on the Central Railroad, after which he was promoted to the position of conductor. This he held for eleven years. When the great strike occurred, about two years ago, he with others, lost his position, since which time he has been engaged in the grocery and bottling business in the old stand at Lock thirty-eight (the Van Allen lock), and which his father conducted before him. His goods go all over the country, with perhaps the exception of the town of Herkimer. He married Maggie Ward, and they have six children, five sons and two daughters. Mr. Van Allen's father and two of his uncles participated in the late war.
VAN ALSTYNE, Calvin, Little Falls, was born March 9, 1829, in the town of Danube. He received a good education in the schools of this vicinity, and was assistant in his father's grocery store until twenty-one years of age, when he was admitted to a partnership at the same time the business was removed from Shall's Lot to Jacksonburg. Two years later he married Miss C. E. Eysaman, dissolving the partnership with his father in the grocery establishment and entering the employ of J. J. Gilbert of Little Falls, with whom he has been for the past twenty years. He was elected tax collector last charter election, which office he now holds most acceptably to the public. Mr. Van Alstyne has a family of four sons living. He is a staunch Republican in politics.
VAN BENSCHOTEN, Elias, was born where he now resides in Warren, December 20, 1848, a son of Mathew and Julia Ann (Wykoff) Van Benschoten. The grandfather, Elias was a pioneer of Otsego county. Their children were: Melvina, Colman, Mrs. General Holt, Catharine Hicks, Mrs. Helen Gould, Cordela, Mathew and Elias. Mathew was born in Otsego county, where he had a farm of two hundred acres, and ran a hotel on the west side of Otsego Lake. About 1830 he located where his son now resides, where he died in 1859, aged fifty-nine. His wife died January 17, 1890, aged eighty-five. She was born January 8, 1805, in Cherry Valley, a daughter of Grant Wykoff, of New Jersey. They had twelve children, raised two: Chester, of Michigan, and Elias. The latter had a district school education, and at fourteen began for himself on the home farm which he now owns. He is a Republican. In 1870 he married Martha J. Storing, born in Otsego county, N. Y., a daughter of Jacob and Elisabeth (Weldon) Storing, and they have three children: Don E., Bruce P., and Lula. Subject's mother's parents raised nine children: John, William, Eliza Paine, Sally Fish, Julia A., Emily Springer, Elenor Eckler.
VAN BUREN, Jacob, Dolgeville, was born in Oppenheim Center January 25, 1827. His father and grandfather were born in Coxsackie, on the Hudson. His grandfather was a brother to Martin's father. Jacob received a good common school education, and moved with his father to Brockett's Bridge in 1834. His father then engaged in the manufacture of lead pipe, furniture, undertaking and millwright business, etc. In 1851 he engaged with Seth Thomas for one year as machinist in his clock shops at Plymouth Hollow, Conn. In the fall of 1852 he engaged with James & Ferris in Utica, manufacturers of telescopes for their target rifles. In 1854 he went West. In 1864 he engaged with Judge J. D. Caton in his Illinois and Mississippi telegraph shops in Ottawa, Ill. Some two years after the judge sold out to the Western Union. Van Buren stopped with the Western Union, took charge of the engine and machinery, made tools, dies, etc., until the Western Union removed their works in 1874 to Chicago. In 1875 he removed to Joliet as engineer in the Joliet Steel Mill Water Works. During his life in the West he filled many important public offices, such as city marshal, collector, etc. In 1877 he returned to Brockett's Bridge and entered the employ of Alfred Dolge as machinist. In 1878 he drafted and invented the most part of the first hammer felt machine; made the machine in Mr. Dolge's factory, the only one said to be in existence at that time, which was greatly in advance of the old tread-mill style. In 1879 he invented and drafted a glue table with a series of slots running lengthwise for glueing piano sounding boards, which was a success. In 1880 Mr. Van Buren invented a knife forty-eight inches long for cutting heavy hammer felt. In 1882 the second hammer felt machine was made by him on a much larger scale, which did excellent work. About his last work there was getting up a new style of post adjustable box for Mr. Dolge's heavy shafting and overseeing the setting of his large engine. In 1883, his health having failed him, he resigned and retired from mechanical work.
VAN DEUSEN, B. B., German Flats, was born in Pennsylvania, October 29, 1841. He served one year in the United States army during the civil war and afterwards graduated a civil engineer. After following his profession for twenty years, largely mining engineering in the West, he entered manufacturing, and is now manager of the Remington Standard Typewriter Works at Ilion. In 1872 he married Miss Ellen F. Bullard by whom he has two daughters. His father, Benjamin Van Deusen, and family have a history in this state extending back two centuries. Mr. Van Deusen's grandfathers and granduncles took part as patriots in the Revolutionary War.
VAN DEWALKER, Nicholas, Warren, was born in Sharon September 14, 1857, and is a son of Jacob and Lavinia Van Dewalker. His grandfather, Peter, was a pioneer of Schoharie county, and owned about 1,000 acres of land. Jacob Van Dewalker was born in Schoharie county, and died about 1880, aged sixty years. His wife, who was the mother of three children and a member of the Methodist church, died earlier. Nicholas Van Dewalker was educated in the common schools, and at eighteen began business for himself by working on a farm. In the spring of 1890 he bought and settled on 300 acres east of Little Lakes. He is a Democrat. He married in May, 1883, Fannie, daughter of Albert and Fatima (Flint) Clyde of Montgomery county. They have one child, Ina E.
VAN DIEMAN, Paul, German Flats, was born in Hamburg, Germany, January 14, 1863, and came to America in 1874. He learned the trade of die-cutter and engraver in Chicago and New York, and came to Ilion in September, 1890. He cuts the original dies for making type for the Remington Standard Typewriter. Mr. Van Dieman married Pauline Wilhelm December 31, 1886. His father, C. P. H. Van Diemen, once conducted the largest express business in Hamburg, Germany.
VAN GUMSTER, Sr., John, Ilion, was born in Holland in 1839. He came to America in 1848 with his parents, who first located in Troy, N. Y. They subsequently took up residence in Syracuse, N. Y., where the subject of this sketch learned the trade of gunsmith. His father was also an expert gunmaker. In 1861 he came to Ilion and became a contractor with E. Remington's Sons, with whom he remained until 1885. Since that time he has been one year with Edison and two years with the Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Conn. He is a Republican in politics, has been a delegate to important conventions, and holds the position of trustee of this village at the present time.
VAN SLYKE, D. C., is a native of Little Falls and has been a resident farmer all his life. His father, James Van Slyke, is still living and resides with him. The family is descended from the old Mohawk Dutch, and they were among the earliest settler in that part of the State. D. C. Van Slyke is a prominent and successful Prohibition worker, and is county deputy of the Good Templars. He also belongs to the Royal Arcanum, the People's Benefit Society and the Grange. He married Anna A. Border. He works 179 acres of land and has forty cows. He formerly dealt extensively in hay and supplied the Seventh and Eight Avenue Railway Company of New York for seven years. He brought to the town the first hay press used this side of Albany.
VAN SLYKE, William, is a native of Fairfield, and one of the oldest residents of the place. He was born in 1822 and has been a farmer all his life, though of late years he has retired from active work, and his son manages the farm, which consists of eighty-two acres of dairy land. Mr. Van Slyke married in 1847, and has a family of two children, a son and a daughter. He is a Democrat in politics, as is also his son. His grandfathers on both sides took part in the war of the Revolution.
VAN VALKENBURG, C. A., Manheim, was born in Manheim July 8, 1836. He was married to Alida M. Schuyler June 17, 1868. His father, Vrial, was born in August, 1795. His mother was Catherine Driesbach, a sister of the celebrated lion tamer. Mr. Van Valkenburg has lived on the farm he now owns forty-nine years. His father settled here in the spring of 1837. Mr. Van Valkenburg moved from the farm October 20, 1886, to where he now lives, No. 540 East Monroe street. Mr. Van Valkenburg received most of his education in the district schools, except one year in the Little Falls Academy and one term at Fort Plain Seminary. Mr. Van Valkenburg took the management of his farm at the age of twenty, making butter and cheese. Two years later he started a market garden on a very small scale in connection with cheese-making, and gradually increased the garden business for twenty-five years, then growing fifteen acres of vegetables, which he has run since, making thirty-four years in all. In 1886 he started a milk route, which he has run since in connection with gardening.
VAN VECHTEN, William P., Norway, was born October 27, 1843. He is a son of Hamlen and Roxy H. Van Vechten, mentioned in Charles Van Vechten's sketch. William P. was reared on a farm and educated in the common schools. He married Annie Stratton of Utica, a daughter of George and Hannah Stratton. Their children are George, Anna and Ada, deceased. Mr. Van Vechten owns 170 acres of land and keeps a large dairy. He is a Democrat and has been supervisor three years, assessor several years, and inspector of elections.
VICKERMAN, James, German Flats, was born in England, February 19, 1829, but has lived in this country all his life. His father and he farmed and contracted together for several years. After continuing the contracting some time he went into the plaster business, in which he has been for thirty years. His father was Collingwood Vickerman. Mr. Vickerman has always been prominent politically and has been supervisor of the town. In 1852 he married Harriet E. Ingram, and they have two daughters, Mrs. Lester and Mrs. Rasback, both living in Ilion.
VOSBURGH, Charles W., was born in Little Falls and received his education at the academy here. After being engaged in clerking, book-keeping, etc., for several years, he formed a partnership with Leigh & Company in the grocery line, and later a co-partnership with a Mr. Shaut in the same business, the firm being known as Shaut & Vosburgh. After this for a time he conducted the City Market, which he disposed of in 1890 and entered the Little Falls post-office as assistant postmaster. This position he still retains. Mr. Vosburgh is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the Elks, Red Men and of the Fire Department, Little Falls Commandery, Ziyara Temple of Utica, etc. He married Katie M. Sharp, of Little Falls.